A Balanced Look at Conflict

January 16, 2014

The JT and writer Maayan Jaffe are to be lauded for an excellent, balanced article on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (“Somewhere in the Middle,” Jan. 3). The examples used to support engagement with this issue reveal the challenges that present-day conditions and different historical narratives play in designing a future peace and two-state arrangement that can be agreed upon by all parties.

I was particularly moved by Tali Ruskin’s courage, honesty and inner struggle to better connect her service to the Palestinian community with her own Jewish identity. This commendable mitzvah on her part serves as a fine example for others in order to improve the communication and understanding among Palestinians, Israelis and Jews around the world.

After returning last January from a three-week visit to Israel after a 38-year absence, I became very involved with the discussions about the ongoing peace initiatives and re-evaluated my own views on this matter. I found helpful, as noted in the article, my attendance at the Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue sessions hosted by Beth Shalom Congregation in Howard County and organized with sensitivity by Rabbi Susan Grossman.

I also attended the excellent 10-session program “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land” funded by the Hoffberger Foundation and hosted by Chizuk Amuno’s Melton Adult Education Program. My concern is that these excellent programs reached relatively few people —mostly in older age groups and with little media coverage — to share the wisdom offered. We need to use social media and communication access more effectively to share these messages of hope and understanding.

We need to reflect constantly upon the value of Israel to our Jewish community, increase our sensitivity to Palestinian aspirations and find meaningful involvement that can offer support to a nurturing, fair and secure Israeli/Palestinian two-state future.

Alan Rubinstein
Cantor Emeritus,
Bolton Street Synagogue
Baltimore

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